International pressure, not national leadership, is driving Australian companies to aim for net zero

While the Nationals drag their heels over whether they will commit to Scott Morrison’s net zero by 2050 policy, Australia’s agriculture and mining sectors are already getting stuck-in to their own net zero targets. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C laid down a dire warning about … Continue reading International pressure, not national leadership, is driving Australian companies to aim for net zero

Good news about screen time and kids’ health?

By Brendon Hyndman, Charles Sturt University A newly published study in the journal PLoS ONE suggests spending time on screens is unlikely to be directly harmful to young children. The US study attracted global attention, as screen time has been commonly blamed for disrupting the healthy habits of our youth. Headlines announced “Screens are not … Continue reading Good news about screen time and kids’ health?

Raising Heretics: kids can change the world

If children are the future, then how we teach them will shape that world. But are we, as parents and teachers, raising them in the right way? As STEM skills increasingly become necessary in shaping society, a data-driven approach to education may be the only way for the future generation to change the world. Cosmos … Continue reading Raising Heretics: kids can change the world

Nature is for everyone

The outdoors has something for everyone, but is nature accessible to all? This panel explores the diverse value of nature, some of the barriers South Australians experience in accessing it, and showcases programs that are working to make it easier for everyone to connect to nature. Cosmos presents this recording from South Australia’s Nature Festival … Continue reading Nature is for everyone

Deciphering the Philosophers’ Stone: how we cracked a 400-year-old alchemical cipher

Richard Bean, The University of Queensland; Megan Piorko, Georgia State University, and Sarah Lang, University of Graz What secret alchemical knowledge could be so important it required sophisticated encryption? The setting was Amsterdam, 2019. A conference organised by the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry had just concluded at the Embassy of the … Continue reading Deciphering the Philosophers’ Stone: how we cracked a 400-year-old alchemical cipher

Trolling, abuse of scientists during the pandemic

Around one in five Australian scientists surveyed by the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) say they’ve experienced abuse including death threats and/or threats of physical or sexual violence after speaking to the media about COVID-19. The survey results represent the experiences of the 50 scientists who chose to respond. They are not a random sample … Continue reading Trolling, abuse of scientists during the pandemic

How can Australia safely return to work after COVID lockdowns?

As New South Wales approaches the 80% double-dose target, restrictions will ease in the next few weeks, and most businesses are expected to reopen. Although the high vaccination rate is highly encouraging, increasing people’s movements and mingling might result in a surge of COVID-19 cases. The NSW Government has developed COVID Safety Plans for workplaces … Continue reading How can Australia safely return to work after COVID lockdowns?

Oral vaccines, rare ecosystems and microplastic map

Black summer bushfire research, a vaccine against a childhood virus and a science education program for Indigenous students are among the winners of the 2021 Eureka Prizes, announced Thursday night at a virtual ceremony. Presented annually by the Australian Museum since 1990, the Eureka Prizes recognise scientific excellence of both individuals and organisations. Seventeen prizes … Continue reading Oral vaccines, rare ecosystems and microplastic map

ASEAN nations join forces to imagine the “next big things”

What will the South-East Asian region look like in 2040? What are the big drivers of change happening now? The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the need for future preparedness like never before. Like well-practised regions such as Europe, the ASEAN region is now building foresight capacity so it can build a shared vision of the … Continue reading ASEAN nations join forces to imagine the “next big things”

Lost in translation: linguistic diversity could save biodiversity

The extinction crisis is one of the greatest challenges currently facing our planet. According to new research, tapping into the information held in studies published in languages other than English could be key to the fight against species and biodiversity loss. The study, published in PLOS Biology, reviewed over 400,000 papers published in 16 other … Continue reading Lost in translation: linguistic diversity could save biodiversity

Māori voices are needed to understand Antarctic ice core

Antarctic ice samples, which were claimed to reveal remnants of 700 years of land-burning practices in New Zealand/Aotearoa, have touched off a pointed debate about the need for diversity in scientific research teams. The researchers in this case, led by Joseph McConnell from the Desert Research Institute (DRI), based in the US, found black carbon … Continue reading Māori voices are needed to understand Antarctic ice core

The politics of nature

These days, everything feels like a partisan issue, be it immigration, national security, renewable energy or even lockdowns. More and more decision making seems to feel like a political football, even if it doesn’t make sense. Despite its history, a basic concern for the environment seems to have been caught in this trend and in … Continue reading The politics of nature